Five steps to_better_relations_between_cf_os_and_cmos


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Five steps to_better_relations_between_cf_os_and_cmos

  1. 1. D E C E M B E R 2 013 c o r p o r a t e f i n a n c e p r a c t i c e Why can’t we be friends? Five steps to better relations between CFOs and CMOs The application of data analytics offers a useful approach to build more collaboration in support of stronger growth. Jonathan Gordon, Jean-Hugues Monier, and Phil Ogren Marketing is in the midst of a performance marketing return on investment, or MROI.1 revolution. The application of advanced analytics This suggests that nearly two-thirds still rely on and plentiful data has allowed chief marketing qualitative measures or none at all. In fact, officers (CMOs) to demonstrate the return a 2012 survey showed that 63 percent of projects on investment from marketing activities with a do not use analytics to inform marketing degree of precision that’s never been possible decisions.2 And the lack of an analytical approach before. With companies spending as much as 10 per- has contributed to a barrier between marketing cent of their annual budgets on marketing, and finance—often leading to difficult budgeting depending on the industry—a whopping $1 trillion conversations. One financial-services CMO globally—this rapidly developing ability to put told us how CFOs typically perceive his function: hard numbers against marketing performance is music to the ears of both CMOs and CFOs. “Marketing has a vague status. We’re going to give a certain amount of dollars to those guys. They’re going to make ads and do whatever To date, however, the reality of marketing analytics it is they do. And let’s hope it generates demand.” has fallen short of the promise. Just 36 percent of CMOs, for example, have successfully used To reverse this perception, we believe that CMOs analytics to demonstrate quantitatively the must become true collaborators with CFOs and
  2. 2. 2 adopt an MROI approach that’s driven by analytics. example, held more than a dozen workshops in The good news is that the same mountains of six months to explain why it mattered and to data that can deliver an array of value-creating ensure that the global marketing function clearly insights can also help CMOs demonstrate understood the value of analytics. The company marketing return on investment at a level of detail used this process to develop a common approach that the CFO expects. In our work with clients for answering the seemingly basic question in dozens of sectors over more than five years, we of why it was spending marketing dollars. For have found that the strongest CMO–CFO partner- example, was it trying to promote the brand ships develop when both parties take five actions: or draw customers into the showroom? Drawing open their books to scrutiny, focus on the such distinctions makes it easier for any CMO metrics that matter, balance short-term and long- to answer basic questions about where and how term value creation, consider savings as well marketing dollars are spent—and makes as spending, and seek opportunities to collaborate. budgeting discussions much more productive. The opportunity is enormous. In our experience, Focus on the metrics that matter companies that adopt this marketing-analytics Ideally, the relationship between the CFO and the approach can unlock 10 to 20 percent of their CMO needs to function more like a partnership, marketing budget to either reinvest in marketing in which the two explore together the performance or return to the bottom line. that drives shareholder returns. That means CMOs will need to focus on the metrics that are Create an ‘open book’ mind-set most aligned with corporate business goals, Creating transparency into operations is the which CFOs can help identify. Typically, these will starting point for marketing to help CFOs not be brand awareness, share of voice in the understand where and how value is being gained market, or the number of “likes” on Facebook— or lost. CMOs often find it hard to say how areas where many currently focus—unless those much they actually spend—by product, market, or numbers can be tied to profit. CMOs must strategic intent, for example, or by activity—on demonstrate and track marketing’s impact by IT, different parts of the purchase funnel, digital focusing on those key performance indicators (KPIs) and social media, or nonadvertising activities that are most important for shareholder value such as sponsorships, promotions, and trade events. such as return on investment, net present value, It can be challenging because different regions and operating margins. may allocate the same spending to different categories. A trade-fair expenditure might fall into Marketing KPIs that don’t directly address short-term spending in one market, for instance, shareholder value and the company’s objectives but long-term brand-building spending in another. don’t tell the CMO or the CFO where marketing Bringing people and activities into line is essential This doesn’t portend an end to the creativity but seldom easy. Marketing departments are often required to touch people’s emotions; it only means reluctant to look beyond their own fiefdoms; it’s plumbing the same reservoirs of data that efforts are having the most desired impact. also time-consuming to align spending categories spark that creativity to better define when and accurately—and a major task to communicate where to target audiences with which messages— the value of doing so. An automotive company, for and to demonstrate the value in doing so.
  3. 3. 3 In collaboration with the CFO, the CMO can in helping allocate budget resources. Yet such develop a set of objectives that directly contribute activities drive only 20 to 40 percent of to financial objectives and business goals. total sales, and so traditional MMM reflects a At the automotive company referred to earlier, for small portion of the total value of marketing example, the CMO and CFO worked together investments, much of which can be attributed to with their teams to draw up a global set of the harder-to-measure power of the brand. financial and nonfinancial metrics for the short The brand naturally takes much longer to develop, and long term. Financial metrics would up to five years, but it has far greater staying typically include obvious numbers such as sales, power than a single piece of advertising. return on investment, and cost per customer, while nonfinancial metrics included the number Long-term brand performance is affected by many of people visiting dealers or long-term indicators of factors, which makes measuring the impact the health of the brand such as the number of of investment challenging and the data harder to customers considering the brand. unearth. Calculating short-term effects separately from long-term benefits can help managers We’ve often found it helpful to create a chart to isolate which marketing activities truly build brand illustrate how business and financial goals at the equity. With those calculations in hand, marketers top cascade down to marketing KPIs, then can go to the CFO with the data to inform nuanced to tactics and strategies that can deliver on those decisions about where to put dollars to boost KPIs, and finally to those metrics that measure short-term returns or build long-term equity. the effectiveness of those strategies or tactics. In practice, marketing KPIs need to incorporate Consider one food brand, for example. Marketing customer-acquisition and retention targets and managers decided to connect with customers costs. These metrics can easily be translated back using Facebook advertising bolstered by contests, into the company’s top-line or bottom-line relevant sponsored blogs, photo-sharing incentives, performance, which resonates more with the CFO. and shopping-list applications. The approach delivered sales results similar to traditional Given the complexity of marketing today, it can be marketing, including TV advertising and print difficult to develop metrics that prove categorically promotions, at a fraction of the cost. Brand that an initiative is working. The metrics still managers, therefore, considered massive cuts to matter in those cases, but what matters more is their TV- and print-advertising budgets in that the CMO and CFO agree on them. favor of spending more on social-media channels. However, when they included long-term effects Balance short-term and long-term in their calculations, they realized that the value creation contribution of TV advertising significantly out- One of marketing’s biggest challenges has always paced online displays and social media at been managing the trade-off between short- delivering the emotional connection needed to term spending to boost sales and longer-term build brand equity. brand building. Econometric analysis can estimate the benefits of different combinations of Look at savings as well as spending marketing tactics—so-called marketing-mix The concept of lean has driven tremendous modeling (MMM)—and to some extent is effective productivity globally, largely by cutting waste and
  4. 4. 4 improving efficiency. While the concept’s research companies to conduct similar tasks. As a origins are in manufacturing, it has long been result of this insight, the company overhauled applied in nonmanufacturing settings, its spending on promotions, market research, and including the finance function.3 Most marketing functions would also do well to embrace lean advertising, redirecting nearly 20 percent of its marketing budget to more growth-oriented tactics. concepts—certainly they would find it worth taking a close look at procurement. Any savings Seek opportunities to collaborate could be invested elsewhere, and the effort As obvious as it may seem, one way to improve the would demonstrate responsible stewardship of CMO–CFO relationship is for both parties to company resources. recognize that they’re on the same team. CMOs should invite finance to participate in marketing’s A data-driven approach to procurement isn’t a new planning process to build bridges but also to concept, though marketers have been slow to benefit from financial expertise. Spending time embrace it. Something as simple as benchmarking in the same room is a good start. Taking marketing’s spending on external agencies the time to speak with the CFO about the shape could lead to astonishing cost savings and, once of the company and any shifting priorities again, the CMO can go to the CFO with solid will allow CMOs to be more attuned to evidence on budgeting. At one consumer- the business and to move more quickly to make packaged-goods company, for example, a series of adjustments as necessary. strong brands had evolved in separate silos, each with its own marketing budget. On closer The experience at one global insurance company is examination, marketing managers discovered the illustrative. The company’s CMO found himself company was spending three times the industry under pressure from the board to demonstrate the benchmark on coupons, 50 percent more than the value of marketing activities—while at the industry average on research, and overtesting same time, the company’s competitors were TV commercials without improving them. It was massively outspending it, solidifying their “top of also using more than four dozen market- mind” position with consumers. He recognized CMOs should invite finance to participate in marketing’s planning process to build bridges but also to benefit from financial expertise.
  5. 5. 5 that he needed not only to justify the current An analytical approach to marketing may not marketing budget but also to ensure it was more mean the end of difficult budgeting conversations effective to meet the challenge from competitors. between the CMO and CFO. But the emergence To build support for his effort, the CMO reached common ground on which to compare notes out to other parts of the business, including and achieve a better understanding of marketing’s finance, explained that he wanted to adopt a more role in driving real business value. of marketing-data analytics provides them a new investment-oriented approach to marketing, and invited them to support the effort. They agreed on three goals for both the marketing and finance departments: to better clarify the role of marketing to the business, to better inform the analytics with their combined input on the assumptions, and to better understand the results coming out of the analysis. The CFO appointed 1 The CMO Survey, “Highlights and insights: August 2013,”; the survey is cosponsored by the American Marketing Association, Duke University, and McKinsey Company. 2 The CMO Survey, “Highlights and insights: February 2012,” 3 Richard Dobbs, Herbert Pohl, and Florian Wolff, “Toward a leaner finance department,” McKinsey on Finance, Number 19, Spring 2006, a representative from finance to join the effort— and the CMO agreed, up front, to discontinue any activities that proved uneconomic. In the end, the CMO was able to demonstrate quantitatively the impact of marketing on business goals and save his budget. Moreover, in the process of doing so, he developed a tool to show where his next marketing dollar should go and what he could expect in return. This allowed the CMO to follow an investment-oriented approach to marketing decisions, pursuing campaigns and other activities, and it provided the finance department with confidence that marketing was investing wisely. Jonathan Gordon and Jean-Hugues Monier are principals in McKinsey’s New York office, and Phil Ogren is an associate principal in the Boston office. Copyright © 2013 McKinsey Company. All rights reserved.